There is no doubt that technology has changed the world and is still doing so at an increasing rate. No profession has managed to escape it, least of all journalism. The way that journalism was done decades ago involved typewriters, all contact was done face to face, and although, for the time, the news was printed as quickly as possible it was beyond slow by today’s standards. Even just 15 years ago using Web 1.0 things seem so much slower despite being a giant leap from what it was. Technology helps the profession in many other ways than it does for other trades. One thing that it has in common for all professions is that it makes things quicker. And seeing that speed is a key element of news journalism the introduction of technology has aided us in so many ways it almost seems like a dream to think that we could not communicate with people without having to see them face to face. Talk about hard work. That is by no means to say journalism has become lazy. The work still has to be put in, just in through other methods.
The increasing use of technology hasn’t meant we have left the traditional practices of journalism behind. It merely makes these practices more efficient. For example, good journalism has always been about networking. Charlie Becket describes it as a means where we can connect with people outside of the newsroom for stories, opinions, photos and any other contributions to the news that we may need. Becket says networked journalism gives people a voice in the media.
Jeff Jarvis similarly suggests that networked journalism can now be more collaborative with both amateurs and professionals working together.
This has always been the case-the public have always been part of the news, seeing as the news is about people. Now they have more access and a voice that they can give as and when they feel like it rather than waiting to be asked.
Under Web 1.0 networking had developed but was still limited. A journalist could source a story a contact by telephone calls or meetings, a letter to the editorial or someone asking to speak to a reporter. There was the possibility of forums but they were still developing and were very restrictive.
Then came Web 2.0. where a journalist could source a story through social networking such as Twitter or Facebook, podcasts online searches, threaded video debate and from incidents that may be live streamed on the internet. These are all used in collaboration wit the tools that were used under Web 1.0.
I’m sure the idea of more access for the public to journalism scared a lot of traditionalist and there are critics who suggest that citizen journalism is threatening traditional journalism. I disagree. I think news can only be improved by the collaboration between the public and journalists. Of course, I agree that there should be a line; after all I don’t think that the profession should be totally undermined and I don’t think that anyone can just put something on the internet and be classed as a journalist. But I think that combining the skills of both can only make improvements for the audience.
As Richard Sambrook stated; whatever the subject that we choose to report, “someone, somewhere will know more about it than we journalists do”. It takes a skilled journalist to find this knowledge and know how to use it to improve their story. Journalism is not dead by any means; it is merely being enhanced by these tools and perhaps we should embrace them rather than see them as the enemy.